Development of a marketing campaign could be one of the most hectic tasks since a marketer always assesses the campaign from the company and the consumers’ perspectives. An effective campaign assists organisations in achieving consumer goodwill, thus enabling it to attract many consumers, reduce consumer defection, and increase retention. Advertising is one of the most common campaigns used by organisations to increase consumer base within a competitive environment. Through advertising, marketers incorporate appeals geared towards changing consumer perception about a product or a service (Fill 2006).
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Besides advertising, promotions, public relations, personal selling, and direct marketing are equally significant throughout the campaign. They are elements of integrated marketing communication that determine consumer brand equity. This refers to the reactions of consumers to the same product after the use of different strategies and advertisers. When using celebrities for advertising, a product could receive a different response in comparison to the change of its package. Celebrity endorsements use associative appeals to achieve this, thus making their incorporation in product promotion extremely expensive. This paper intends to explain the rationale of celebrity endorsement in product or service promotion.
Integrated Marketing Communications
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) has five significant elements, which can be applied to organisations that seek to succeed in product development and promotion (Finne and Gronroos 2009). An effective IMC plan ensures that a company develops a sustainable trend in the purchase of products and services. The intention is to increase sales in a continuous manner, while improving in customer acquisition and retention.
This refers too efforts of marketers to achieve positive media coverage for products and services. Such publicity is important even though it is one of the most expensive types of marketing. Companies manage to get positive publicity when organising events, arranging road shows, and supporting philanthropic programs. Through such avenues, companies earn goodwill because they are able to promote their products through the celebrities that come to such events. These include socialites who earn to attend events. Some of the most renowned socialite families include the Kardashians whose association with beauty products naturally increases appeal among consumers. Paying the celebrities to attend events is quite expensive; this makes public relations the costly element of marketing (Hunter 2009).
Sales promotion refers to the incentives introduced in products and services in order to increase sales. They incorporate coupons, discounts, offers, and value added services among other avenues (Ellson 2009). When Robitussin identified competition in the American market, it decided to introduce coupons that would reduce the cost of purchasing products from AH Robins. The company planned to alter consumers’ attention from their competitors that mostly marketed generic drugs. The drugs contained Robitussin DAC, and are sold at a slightly low cost to the original drug. In the pharmacy business, reducing the cost of medicine is challenging because the demand for such a product is high even though the cost of production compensates the extra expenses.
Direct marketing is the most common avenues of celebrity endorsement in marketing. They include social media, internet communication, and other online strategies of reaching out to the target population. Many companies use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram to market their products (Blythe 2006). YouTube is also a common advertisement tool; it uses celebrities to present their marketing concepts directly to the target population. For each minute an employee spends on the social media outlet, a company incurs cost. This also includes payment for the celebrity in question. Direct marketing is one of the most affordable channels of marketing because the celebrities equally use the avenue to increase their public appeal.
Personal selling is the most credible tactic of marketing; it could be the most difficult aspect of celebrity endorsement considering that celebrities overly engage in different activities, thus finding limited time for employment in a single customer care section or a marketing agency. Personal selling mostly involves the engagement of the company sales team that walks from one place to another to post adverts. They also stay in offices in the customer care department to provide aftersales services. The sales team should include professionals considering that the consumers would require expert advice after purchasing the products. In addition, consumers need to get credible advice for purchase because the sales team has the capability to influence sales by convincing the consumers (Young 2011).
Advertising uses the least amount of resources to increase sales amongst the marketing communication elements. It mostly complements the remaining elements of the IMC plan, thus enabling firms to endorse celebrities depending on their areas of interest. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus under a contract engaging them in advertising music products would succeed in increasing sales. This explains why Nike among other companies stopped endorsing Tiger Woods following his involvement in a marital scandal. This would affect the credibility of their products even though they had to part with millions of dollars to retain the celebrity. Normally, adverts have many consumers because such opportunities provide celebrities with a chance to get publicity.
Consumer behaviour refers to the characteristics displayed by different people approached by a certain product or service. Some consumers might respond positively to a product by purchasing it while others might prefer to purchase from competitors. Consumer behaviour differs depending on the demographic and psychographic makeup of the target population. Before product development, marketers often assess the target environment in order to predict the reception levels of the same product. This includes a pilot project to determine consumer responses and to gauge relevant techniques of increasing product or service appeal (Beggs 2009. Within a competitive environment, there are reasons that motivate consumers to purchase, reduce purchase, defect, or increase purchase.
Price, place, promotion, and product as elements of marketing determine the decisions of purchase made by various consumers. This raises the issue of consumer brand equity, which refers to the different appeals that products have considering their association with different people or aspects. For instance, associating a product with a local model that many people do not know might not increase the purchase of products in comparison to associating the same product with renowned football players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Marketers understand that consumer brand equity exists, and this increases the association of products and services with celebrities. The intention of marketers when assessing the consumer behaviour is to ensure the development of an excellent campaign that would increase retention. Through product promotion, marketers provide an opportunity for trail of various products, hence enabling consumers to make decisions about the products of choice.
As such, the concentration is on the product, the consumers, and the competitors when dealing with consumer behaviour. Persuasion levels and use of appeals determine the response of consumers to behaviours. Some consumers use the price strategy to purchase a product or service. Others assess the distance of purchasing the product or acquiring a service before making their purchase decisions (Young 2011). To some consumers, qualities of a product or service take precedence irrespective of celebrity endorsement. However, some celebrities naturally bring out the product quality.
Branding and Marketing Communication Models
Branding and communication theories including the campaign models explain the expectations of marketers after assessing the business environment. The model, an initial for current brand analysis, marketing communication objectives, planning, application, implementation, goal evaluation, refers to the different stages that a product undergoes in order to achieve the requisite response from the public. The campaign model investigates the current brand analysis in order to identify the improvement needed to increase product appeal. In some cases, the product packaging might reduce its appeal.
This might force the company to improve the same if it needs to increase interest in the same products or services. This could result in association of the product with prominent personalities including celebrities. When the product does fairly well in the target market, it is important for the firm to continue using the product appeals used to achieve a similar result. After assessing the current environment, the marketers investigate significant marketing objectives that would assist in changing consumer perceptions and behaviours.
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Through attitude change, consumers would definitely change their consumer behaviours and respond positively to the product. Children are likely to relate with cartoons especially the super heroes. On the other hand, women might respond to product objectives that use fashion and beauty appeals. This makes it important to incorporate celebrities who they can recognise easily (Young 2011). The same applies to men who might probably relate well with wrestlers or footballers. In almost all probabilities, development of marketing objectives requires marketers to understand their target population and the business environment. Planning and application involve aspects of budgeting and development of a pilot project to investigate the impact of the new campaign to the target population. Implementation and evaluation as final elements of the campaign model enabling products and services to communicate effectively through their unique selling propositions.
Classical condition is another theory used by most marketers during product development and promotion. According to the theory, people are likely to learn through association. Favourable brands associated with various celebrities normally increases consumer appeal in the products. Classical condition asserts that people learn from others within the environment depending on the appeals that such stimuli have towards the target population.
This explains the continuous association with celebrities who display perfection in their lives. People would want to associate with them; consumers always believe that using the products or services would elicit a similar effect on them. Finally, the Elaborative Likelihood Model (ELM) creates a connection between the celebrities and the responses that consumers would display during product promotion. In essence, there is a high probability that associating the product or service with a favourable subject would stimulate behaviour adoption (Dacko 2012).
Celebrity Endorsements in Overall IMC Plan
Increase Product Appeal
Celebrities increase product or service appeals because they have a natural mass appeal. Celebrities are iconic and people connect with different celebrities following their different tastes and preferences. This explains the use of Spice Girls during Pepsi promotion in the 1990s. In such a manner, young women who connected with the girl group responded positively to Pepsi in the 1990s providing it with the opportunity to rival the Coca-Cola Company in its target market. When celebrities command mass appeal, they change the attitudes of the consumers enabling them to have a positive perception of the product while negating the competitors. The Coca-Cola Company increases public appeals by using celebrities that people from a certain demographic surrounding can recognise with ease (Pike 2008).
Charismatic celebrities are likely to command a huge consumer base, thus enabling them to promote products and services of their endorsers (Fill 2011). Between 2009 and 2012, Samsung used Didier Drogba to advertise its plasma screen, fridges, and phones. During this period, the then Chelsea striker had a strong and devoted fan base; this made him naturally charismatic. Samsung had one of the greatest annual sales in a three-year period, thus forcing other firms to adopt a similar trend in marketing. Charisma also includes the ability to display humour in order to make comedian celebrities the best in advertising movies, songs, and company products dealing in communication. However, lack of seriousness in comic brand ambassadors would reduce its association with professionals.
Authenticity and Credibility
Brand credibility is an aspect of brand personality meaning that a person who advertises a product determines the responses the same product or service would receive from the target population (Hunter 2009). Celebrities elicit credibility because people believe them when they see them act, in red carpets, and when singing. Some of them carry out philanthropic activities by associating with NGOs. When Leonardo Dicaprio began his green movement, many NGOs wanted to associate with his foundation because they understand that the celebrity would earn them credibility. There are high chances that people will believe the ideas of the celebrity, especially when they have genuine intentions when participating in such projects. Besides, Angelina Jolie would win public goodwill when she decides to launch a campaign against human trafficking.
Celebrities ensure product recall because of the fact that their appearances and sentiments repeatedly reinforce the point to the target population. There is an assurance that the public will pay dedicated attention to a celebrity who impresses them. Naturally, this attracts consumers to a product because they would associate the same product benefits with the appeals (Bradford 2012). Consumers interpret ideas differently, but by associating with an appealing personality, people are likely to change their purchase decisions to match the celebrity’s choices. People feel that the quality of the products and the benefits translated from the unique selling proposition occur because of association with celebrity figures.
In summary, celebrity endorsement during product promotion could be expensive but the outcomes are worth the inputs. Across all integrated marketing communications, using celebrities makes it possible to have the greatest allure for product or service. In the end, the greatest beneficiary of the process is the manufacturer and the marketer because they will be able to develop a loyal consumer base and reduce defection to rival organisations.
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